Rocking the Cradle of Sexual Politics: What Happened When Women Said Incest

Louise Armstrong, Author Addison Wesley Publishing Company $24.66 (305p) ISBN 978-0-201-62471-7
Herself an incest survivor, Armstrong was one of the first to bring this previously invisible problem to national attention with her 1978 book, Kiss Daddy Goodnight. Here, she traces the history of public response to the ``outing'' of incest over the past 15 years. Asserting that incest is fundamentally a political issue-a result of deep-rooted social traditions of male privilege-and must be combatted as such, the author notes that it has instead been interpreted largely as a personal, intrafamilial problem. Thus, it has been treated primarily through therapy and counseling, which, she claims, are inadequate responses. She also describes the public's attempts to deny the pervasiveness of incest, citing, for instance, the recent buzz about the so-called false-memory syndrome, whose proponents argue that many ""memories"" of incest are actually planted in patients' heads by psychologists. She also details how many victims who seek legal recourse are stonewalled by the court system. Such responses, she asserts, both silence incest victims and further empower its perpetrators. Her harrowing accounts of how incest has been dealt with in the courtroom will enrage readers. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
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